29
Jan

Pearl Rose

There isn’t a human being in the world worthy of any dog’s welcome. –RICHARD POWERS

I'm going to say it, we don't deserve dogs.
We don't deserve their attention, adoration, snuggles, or smooches.
We don't deserve their tail wags, their perked ears, their nose bumps.
We don't deserve their cooley's shaking when they see us or their sad eyes as we're saying goodbye.

We don't deserve their warm welcomes.
Or their hugs.
We don't deserve their excitement and their constant love.
We don't deserve their loyalty, protection, or ability to continue learning what we want them to do.

We don't deserve their tiny paws reaching for us.
Or their soft ears that feel like fleece blankets.
We don't deserve to be raised by them or to be their forever.
We don't deserve to be their always.

But, they give us all of this anyway. They give us all of them, every single day.
They give us their excitement and their calm.
They give us their whole selves, no ties, no exceptions, just them.

They love our families. They love their homes.
They welcome our guests, they look forward to the quiet.
They love our walks and our runs. They adore their rest and all the sleep they want.
They love our beds and couches and their beds and blankets.
They love a car ride and are sad when a member of the pack leaves.
They look out for their family and they protect what they love.

We don't deserve dogs, but they don't care.




19
Dec

I respect your presence

Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
You filled in where there was once limitless love, and I respect your presence.
You filled in where there was once love with limits and boundaries, and tempers, and pain, and I respect your presence.

Our whole relationship was complicated.
Packed with fighting and times of so much rage and craze that we just walked away.
Most of my life was filled with so much anger because I could not understand you.
The time you wasted being angry, the reasons you were angry, the people you chose to be angry with, I could not understand any part of it.
And the thing that made me the most angry is you wasted time being angry and you wasted time wasting time.
You never understood that time was a gift and that all of our time is borrowed.
And yet, there were parts of you that I really understood, and I got your why.
Not always, but every once in a while, I got your why.

And the end with you was also complicated.
Filled with moments of laughter and lightness.
Filled with moments of heaviness and vulnerability.
Filled with a scared little boy and a grown man in denial.
Filled with anger and resentment.
Filled with more wasted time, and time worried about the wrong things.
Until finally, it was time to say goodbye.

Once you were gone, I had no idea where my mind, thoughts, and memories would go.
I am honored to say that I felt pure grief.
Loving, missing you, missing your big personality, pure, beautiful grief.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
I respected you from the moment you arrived, and I have not stopped.
I respect you for making me feel small and sad.
You reminded me that love once existed where you now stand so stand proud.
I respect your presence.

It felt like nothing could tear us apart. We were one family, united. We were everything and always. We were endless and always a breath away. We were each other's safety net and you were my laugh, my balance, my friends. Until we were no longer. Somewhere, somehow, we hit our limit in our limitless friendship - and it did not explode, it just vanished.
We were done, and you were all gone.
I spent months upon months upon months unable to catch my breath. I felt like I was being crushed with sadness. And then I lost my dad and I realized what I was feeling for us was grief.
Even though you still existed and walked around in the world, I was grieving you/us/ideas/love. I was grieving our love lost.
I replayed our times together and conversations. I picked up the phone countless times. I doubled over in pain. I held my son's hand as he grieved too. I curled up into a ball most nights. I yelled, I screamed, I did nothing at all but get small and quiet.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and not only did I not respect your presence, I tried to deny you existed. Until I had no other choice. I had to accept the fact that we were done and grief now stood proud.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence. The love you now replace was limitless, endless, truthful, and pure. You should stand proud because real love existed and I respect your presence.

I have had to let go of expectations of people, relationships, and what I had hoped we would be, or what I had thought we were. I have grieved safe spaces and love. Maybe something more beautiful will be born. Maybe we will be exactly what you have always told me we are. Maybe grief will help me to move on, or maybe it will keep me lingering. Maybe the love I still have will melt away the protection I am now seeking.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
I honor you for finding me because it means that I allowed my heart to feel this way. I allowed this amount of love in and outward. I poured as much of myself as I could and I am so lucky to have had this in my life. I respect your presence because it reminds me that I felt love.

As a 45-year-old woman who left her family with no reassurances, who created two amazing kids, who found the love of her life at 21, who left a career that raised her, who buried a puppy that was her reason, who is now raising those two incredible kids to be people in this world, who started a company that she adores, who has another puppy that fixed the broken, who has gone through stage after stage after stage with her husband, who walked her father to his death, who loved and lost, and lost a lot, who was born 40, who is living her best decade, who stopped proving she can do hard things, who continues to look at herself to find how to can be better, stronger, more myself. I am lost. I am living my best years and am still lost.
I have broken up with myself over and over again and I still am. I am still trying to make sense of who I am, how I fit in, where I fit in, who I need, what I need, and when.
Although I spent an entire year trying to live in a place of self-respect with boundaries on being a doormat, I still find myself, searching. I do not know what I am seeking or searching for, but I know that I am looking for something. And I know that I am grieving past lives.

Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
Where you now stand proud, stood a woman who was so fulfilled with her choices in love.
Where you now hold value was once a foundation that was so strong, and now is a little wobbly.
So I respect your presence. I respect your heartbeat and I respect the waves you bring.

Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.



3
Dec

I chose bigger

When I was younger and Dad and I were starting, I can't begin to explain how lovely our life was.
We were smitten.
Everything was so calm and joyful. We had this quaint little life and I loved it.

We spent our evenings watching shows and movies or going out.
We spent our weekends food shopping, going to coffee houses, and walking our puppy.
We lived in a city and we would walk and see friends and have dinner and just loved on each other.

We worked and got by. We started careers and got promoted. We would travel here and there, nothing extravagant.
We lived in apartments, some shitty, some nice, all of them small.

Once we got married, I knew how he wanted to live.
I walked into our marriage knowing he wanted to be a dad and he walked in knowing he needed to convince me of parenthood.
And he did.
I chose you both, I chose a bigger life.

And, although for Dad, there was no choice, it just always was the life he wanted, the life he pictured, and he could not see it any other way, this was an actual choice for me.
I was letting go of my little quaint level.

My quiet little lovely life and I was choosing bigger.

Bigger meant louder.
It meant more space.
It meant more of everything, including more love.
More love for each other as we changed and grew into parents and changed and broke up with ourselves and reformed who we were.
It meant more love for you, two new people in our lives.
We needed to make more room for you and I did.

And I loved it.
I won't be so bold as to say that I loved every part of it.
There were years upon years that were so hard.
Hard on us as a couple, hard on us as parents, hard on us as people, hard on you as we navigated our new lives and parenthood and couplehood.

But I went in eyes wide open and I embraced you and motherhood and loving on you.
I spent my time protecting your little.
I spent my days creating and celebrating special moments.
I spent my life creating our traditions and foundation.
I spent my love on you.

I chose bigger.

And I know your life will look different.
I'm excited to see what you will choose.
And I'm excited to see what will choose you.
What, like your dad, will not be a choice but just a must.
What will make you feel full...joyful...alive?
I'm excited to see what your world will look like, all wrapped up in your own comfort.
Because for one of you, you think you have it all figured out.
And the other seems to think there is no life outside of this little family of ours.

But, to both of you...
Although I can remember my other life. The one I loved.
And I can honestly say I would have loved living that life forever and always - I know that I wanted this one. The one we have right now.
The one that is messy with shoes everywhere and coats and bags thrown.
The one that has me stepping on Legos and forever cleaning a kitchen.
The one that has me tied to the laundry like an anchor.
The one that has me running from place to place to get you from one thing or another.
The one that cost me more money.
The one that will forever have me tied to you.
The one that changed me, changed who I am, changed my wants.

I want this one because I chose it lovies.
I chose you.
I chose bigger.

14
Aug

Life.

One’s life begins on so many occasions, constructing itself out of accident derived from coincidence compounded by character. - Donald Hall

Like the day I left.
Like the day I started on my own.
Like the day I fell in love for the very first time.
Like the day I met my family of girls.
Like the day I fell in love with him.
Like the day I adopted Mia.
Like the day I adopted you.
Like the day we fell in love.
Like the day a doctor told us my life would be a little harder.
Like the day we decided to grow our family.
Like the day we lost Mia.
Like the day we went and picked up Pearl.

Like the days upon days upon days, we try and try again.
Like the times we spend not connecting.
Like the times we reconnect.
Like the day I turned 40.
Like the day I lost my dad.
Like the year we spent healing.

Our life begins over and over and over again.
What is amazing - and at times miraculous - about family, and loves, and partners, is that you go through this rebirth, this new you, the new beginning and you still love each other.
As long as your foundation stays solid, you love the new person standing before you.
As long as your character is still in place, you know this is the direction you want to keep going in.
As long as you are not strangers, you find a way to start your life over, together.

What is amazing is that with each new, comes an opportunity to easily walk away.
Grow apart.
Grow in different directions.
Especially when you start young.
But sometimes, you find a fit that grows with you or finds a way to allow you to grow.

My life has started and restarted and restarted a million different times.
Sometimes, most times, on purpose.
Sometimes, on total accident.
But, here I stand, a million times me.

Over and over and over again, me.

Yes, I'm a little worn.
Yes, I'm quite a bit older.
No, that does not mean I'm wiser or have most or any answers.
It just means that I have restarted, every single time that I have needed to, I have restarted.

10
Jul

Anniversaries

This morning, we were in the Caribbean Sea, both of our Littles right next to us.
"Today is our anniversary" I said with a smile so big it looked painted on.
"To which Anna replied "of..." with a tone that said, damn, what are you celebrating now?

We all laughed because, yeah, I celebrate us a lot.
And I always and forever will.
Even if I'm the only one that loves it.
Even if you all roll your eyes at me and at it.

Because these little moments are the ones that took my breath away and life is filled with enough moments of pain. So any and every chance I get, I will celebrate us.

July 8th is the anniversary of our first date. But for me, it was the start of all of us.
It's the day I found simple, kind, joyous love.
It's the day I met my family.
It's my last firsts.
My last first date. My last first kiss. My last first flutter of will he kiss me?
The last time a boy held my hand the first time.
The last time I felt a rush of that smile you gave me.

It was the start of us.

But for you, our wedding is the most important date so I will give you that one too.
The look you gave me when you saw me.
The way my mom hugged you.
The way my dad kissed your forehead.
The way we danced our first dance.
The amount of people and food.
The amount of joy and utter chaos.
I will give you that day.

As for me, I will celebrate all of us.
I will celebrate each little and big moment that led us here.
Without them, we would be in very different places, we would be different people, we would have different lives.

I will celebrate the day we met and the day we went out.
I will celebrate the day you asked me to marry you, shaking, crying, with our Mia by your side.
I will celebrate the day we moved into our first home together.
I will celebrate the day we found out we were pregnant with each baby.
I will celebrate their birthdays.
I will celebrate the day I adopted Mia, her birthday, I will hold the day we lost her close.
I will celebrate the day we all adopted Pearl and her birthday too. It was the day she healed us with joy and love.
I will celebrate and reminisce and think back to simpler times and forward to exciting times.
The life we built, this really big life.
All the things we have done, the things we decided not to do.
All the times we fought and lost and all the times we fought and won.

It's no secret that I am obsessed with us.
It's no secret that I love the little moments and how much they bring me.
It's no secret that everyone, even my little family, rolls their eyes at me, but I'll be damned if I stop.

I will celebrate all of us.

21
Nov

What we see

You see a kitchen.
I see us writing happy hearts every week and I see pancakes and I see pizza and I see a family all in one spot.
I see where your highchair was and all the entertainment you gave me from it.
I see you falling asleep sitting up when we changed from 2 naps to one.
I see us going over sounds animals make while I fed you.
I see us singing.
I see all of our moments...I see all of us.

You see a bedroom.
I see where I read to you. Where I rocked you. Where I held you. Where I fed you.
I see where your crib was, I see the look on your face when I entered your room after a nap or a deep sleep.
I see a sleepy baby, ready for bedtime, after a bath, smelling perfect.
I see where we introduced you to Mia. I see her smelling you and not knowing what this life now meant for all of us.
I see all of our moments...I see all of us.

You see our front room.
I see the room we first brought you home to.
I see where you rolled over, where you walked, where you played.
I see where you hung out, I see our first family movie nights.
I see our red chair, the one we snuggled into. The one dad held you all night while you were sick in.
I see our fireplace and our love for warmth.
I see Mia's happy face when we were all there together and I see her trying to climb up on top of me when dad watched sports.
I see all of our moments...I see all of us.

You see a bathroom.
I see your first tubs. The ones that you were so small you needed a tub inside of a tub.
The ones where you were sitting up and would play.
I see us writing with the letters that stuck to the walls together.
I see you squealing.
I see you moving from a tub inside a tub, to a sitting child, to someone that bathed alone to someone that takes showers.
I see us fighting you to brush properly.
I see us fighting you to keep it cleaner.
I see all of our moments...I see all of us.

You see our backyard.
I see you making fun of me about how small the pool we put in is.
I see you and dad playing ball, any ball together.
I see you playing basketball by yourself.
I see your swing set - the one you loved and would smile so big on.
I see your baby pool, the one you loved until you were way too big for it.
I see summers outside.
I see our firepit that we all gathered around.
I see Pearl running from one side to the other. Her gallop is so beautiful as she chases the newest smell.
I see us playing fetch and ball with her.
I see her amazing smile when we're all together.
I see all of our moments...I see all of us.

You see a house.
I do not.
I see the home we created, with such unbelievable intentions.
I see our traditions.
I see our love.
I see our family.
I see the beauty in our lives.
I see and feel our memories.
I feel the warmth that was built here.
I see all of our moments...I see all of us.

18
Sep

A gift.

When I was 30, I was presented with a gift. And not one I had always imagined. Not one I ever thought I would want. Not one that I knew my whole life I would one day get and cherish. But just the same, I was presented with a gift.
It came in a little package, all bundled up. It was shiny and brand new but somehow familiar.

I never thought I would describe mothering, motherhood, or parenthood as a gift, but that is exactly what it is. My littles, you have been a gift. Not always wrapped in pretty ribbon and bows, and sometimes we are all frayed, but a gift nonetheless.
When I unwrapped the package, I saw his eyes, my soul, his face, my love.

The last thirteen years have not been a blur for me. Although they have gone fast and fierce, they have been so intentional and deliberate. I have watched and held on to so many moments, so many days. The memories that flood my mind are what bring such an intense smile to my face. When I look back at our pictures, our moments of us, I cannot help but feel this rush of joy. Your life, these memories, they have been such a gift.
When I first laid my eyes on what I was gifted, I knew in my soul this is exactly what I was always meant to do, love on you.

Our first year together was a year like no other. Only filled with love and intention. Only filled with a heart so full and warm. It quickly became our little world, you quickly became a significant part of mine. I watched you turn into a person in 12 months. You went from a bundle to someone I could make smile. You went from a gentle warm snuggle to someone I could make laugh, someone who made me laugh. You went from not being able to lift your head to crawling, standing, and talking. Your first words were so precious. You loved the people in your world and were cautious with the rest.
When I spoke to you, I would get close, as if to whisper. I would soak you all in, your smell, your warmth, your smile, my smile staring back at me.

Watching you grow into who you are, who you will one day be, but who you always were, has been the greatest privilege of my life. The most precious gift. I get this incredible front-row seat. And I thank you for it littles. I thank you for allowing me to still be involved for as long as you need. I thank you for realizing that we are always here, even when you do not need us. I realize that we will not always have this front-row seat. I realize how limited our time is, but for this very moment in time, I am gifted with you.
When you are gifted something so precious, you want to make sure you take very good care of it, and I tried very hard to take good care. However, you do not want it to feel fragile and breakable. You want to make sure the gift is fully realized, and I tried very hard to make sure you knew your potential.

You have filled my home with joy.
You have given me a second childhood, you gifted me childhood and I got to work on protecting your little.
I do not shelter you, but I do protect my gift.
I do not keep you from growing up, but I do ask you to walk slowly.
No is not my favorite word, but you know our boundaries.
I know my gift is so delicate and fragile, but also built with such incredible force and strength.
The gift has such warmth. It created warmth in my home.
It was exactly what my home needed. Warmth and joy and mess and craze. My home was missing you and I didn't even know it. My home was too quiet and I didn't even realize it. My home, my life, my heart, it needed the gift of you.

The little in my life is a gift. Christmas mornings, traditions, ice cream for dinner, Cape summers, beaches, toys, Legos, and puzzles. Balls and games. Music and dance parties. Friday night pizza and movies. Binge-watching shows. Reading dates and snuggles on top of snuggles. Hand holding everywhere and all of the time. Puppy kisses and walks. Walks on top of walks on top of walks. Pictures, all of the pictures. Waffles and pancakes. The weekend mornings that are slow. The nights that are filled with whispers of love in your dreams. My gift, you have been my gift.
And so I thank you for this time, this little window of time. I want to thank you for my gift. The one I unwrapped so many years ago. The one that had his eyes, my smile. His joy, my serious. His newness, my old soul. His love, my love, together, we unwrapped a gift.

29
May

Storming through memories

Memorial Day.
For some, it's the unofficial start of summer.
And our little town is bursting at the seams with excitement and people everywhere.
It's warm, it's inviting, it's lovely to see.

Memorial Day also bears weight in its lightness because it is a day to remember those that have fallen.

Memorial Day also reminds me of the incredible milestones that seem to always fall around this time of year for me.
So, because I am me, this weekend carries a lot of memories for your mamma.

She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
...

Memorial Day weekend, 2000.
When I was just out of college, my first memorial day was spent with friends in NJ.
I was starting work that week and although excited about the start of my career, I also felt this unbelievable realization that these 4 incredible college years were really over.
No more all of us living on top of each other.
No more incredible walks in Geneseo.
No more parties that were too fun to explain.
No more of our bar scene.
No more Geneseo.
I was walking away from a relationship and that carried some heartache.
I was walking away from a family that I built around me and that carried some heartache.
I remember driving away from that very little town, thanking it for my time there, thanking it for the comfort and love it created and leaving a piece and part of me right there.

She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
...
And it breaks her heart

Memorial Day weekend 2005.
We left Rochester and we started our life in Saratoga.
It was me going back to the career I started with and although I did not know it at the time, the start of an agency building me up and raising me.
I again was driving away from an area that meant so much to me, but in some way was holding me down.
I met my husband in this town.
I adopted Mia in this town.
I had framily right there, reconnected in a glorious and loving way.
I once again thanked a city for all that it gave me, all that it afforded me, all that it meant to me.
And down the road I drove.

"Take what you can from your dreams
Make them as real as anything
Oh, it'll take the work out of the courage"

Memorial Day weekend 2012.
Our last weekend before Coley was born.
It was my last weekend being pregnant.
It was a weekend to really cherish.
We bought 3-year-old Anna a little pool to wade in and she was in heaven.
We bought our first fancy camera because we wanted to capture amazing pictures of our new baby and we tried it out.
Each picture we took is stamped into my mind...
pictures of her smile
pictures of Mia loving the warm and attention
pictures of time with our extended family
pictures of me and my little guy, our last pictures of just us two

Memorial Day weekend 2016.
I was sitting at a party and turned to dad with the realization that I needed to build a new business.
I had this ah-ha moment of how to do it and do it a little faster than my original thought.
I stopped overthinking and I started making calls to put the wheels in motion.
Capital CFO was born and left my head and was down on paper.
I knew it meant the end of my time with the agency, I knew where I was headed, and for the first time, I wasn't sad but just ready.

For me, I do not often think of the start of something new as an actual start. I lean more heavily into the loss and what I am leaving behind to get to this place of new.
But for some reason, this weekend has forced about big changes in my life, big losses, big decisions.
And that means I am living a big life.
No longer wishing it different.

12
Dec

Where our story begins

There is something so beautiful about the beginning of a love story. Something so sweet, so pure. You can't stop smiling, your heart rushes, something happens in your toes. You can't get enough and you can't picture anything different. And no matter what happens to your story, holding on to that feeling is just so important. In fact, I once read that you can tell if couples in therapy have a fighting chance by the way they talk about the start of them. If they fumble through the story and giggle and remember the joy or if it's all about how it all went wrong and feel as though it started with contempt.

I am so lucky to have so many gorgeous love stories and more for me than you, I want to share them. I wanted to honor them and I wanted to remind you that happy endings look so different. There is no need to mention names, those who know already know. Some are people, or pets, or places/cities. But the who is something I will keep just for me.

When I first met you, I was 14 years old and still desperately trying to figure out how to get through this part of my life. I had my goals and my life planned out, but I was too young to be this angry. You kind of got it, you understood, and you validated how awful this was. You made me a teen with crushes and late-night talks. With an obsession with the phone, notes being passed, talks about boys, first kisses. You made me young and happy.

When I first met you, I was dating someone else and you came on strong. You wrote me letters, poems, you wrote about me. You read my writing and you were amazed that we shared this secret language that we shared with no one. You made me feel so special, so seen. You were my first young love. You made me feel like me and okay with that.

When I first met you, it was way later than I should have. Everyone else had done visits and tours of their choices and made an informed decision. I saw you through brochures because I wasn't allowed to see you in person. But when I did, when I did, it was everything I wanted. From the moment I laid eyes on you, you felt like a warm blanket, ready to take care of me. You were gorgeous, absolutely stunning.

When I first met you all, we were crazy young, a little nervous, but so so happy. We were all trying to figure out what this important part of our lives was going to look like but one thing was for sure, we were going to take care of each other, be there for each other, we created a home, a framily. Years and years and years later, we have been through heartache, heart breaks, first adult loves, weddings, babies, raising kids, taking care of aging parents. We have held on to what we created.

When I first met you, I met my heart, my forever person. Your background was so similar to mine and you understood me in a way most couldn't. Your family was so loving, so caring, so there and supportive and that's exactly what you became. What you have given me is my forever and ever family. Watching our kids become who we were, what we still are, is the highlight of life. Loving your husband in the way that I love you, knowing you love mine as deeply and meaningfully. You fill me full, you are my one week a year and you so beautifully know and accept me. You so lovingly appreciate how crazy the four of us are, and you teach me...you fill me full.

When I first met you, it was my very first night of college and we stayed up all night talking. We sat on a wall and talked the night away about where we came from, what brought us here, our families. Our stories were so different. Within months, you became my first college boyfriend. You made me laugh, you made me have fun, you made me dance, you loved music as much as I did. You let me be with my girls, and you made me happy.

When I first met you, I was taking a class that I needed to check off my list. What I found was an amazing love of the subject, a deep sense that I needed to learn more and more and that I could not get enough of you. What I found was the beginning of my love of education, no longer my have to, but my actual love and desire.

When I first met you, you were seven and you changed everything about me. You and your family had me believe in a loving home filled with laughter and healthy fights and warmth. You gave me a future to believe in and a career that would change my entire life.

When I first met you, you were the funny guy downstairs. We bonded over our love of Pearl Jam and our friendship drove us both mad and crazy. It still does to this day. You make me laugh and think differently. You opened my eyes to the world, you were protective, you were inspiring, you were a real and amazing friend.

When I first met you, we were playing a game at one of your house parties. You leaned over and kissed me. You took me by such surprise, but that kiss sparked something, years of something. You stole me away. You had a way of taking care of me, even though I was trying to scream that I didn't need to be taken care of. You had a way of making me feel special, even though I felt like I didn't deserve it. And I always thought I was just in the way, in your way. Ultimately, you were what helped me realize what I did deserve and what I needed to be looking for.

When I first met you, you were in a little ball in a cage waiting for your family to find you. As soon as we laid eyes on each other, we were locked in. The day I brought you home, you sat next to me like my little co-captain in this life. And you held that role, most times taking the lead but just a nudge, but always always being there. You became my reason, my heart, my family. You brought dad to us, you made him fall in love with us. You were soft and gentle and cute and smelled so good. We took such good care of each other. And for all of the years of love and moves and changes and life events, I have no regrets. I know I loved you as hard as I possibly could and I know you knew how much that was. You were my reason.

When I first met you, I was renting a movie, your smile immediately drew me in. I met my family, and I was home. All that we have created together is remarkable. Our decades together have meant something. Our future is still so unknown, but solid. Even through our darkest and hardest of times, you keep us...you keep us. I want to thank you for never ever giving up, for listening, for moving in the directions we needed to move. I want to thank you for your undying support, a real true partner. I want to thank you for picking up what I have needed to drop. I want to thank you for knowing how important my work is to me, but also bringing life back to us and them. I want to thank you for falling in love with puppy kisses and being patient with my mothering. I want to thank you for insisitng I become a mother, something I love so much. I want to thank you for loving me and growing with me.

When I first met you, it was different. Two little lines told me you were coming and in that instant, our connection began. I can't explain it, but when I placed my hand on my belly, you whispered that you were a girl. Months later you told me your birthday and months and months later, you were here. A person. Half me, half dad. You made us walk into parenthood so gently and lovingly. You were so easy, so easy to care for, so easy to love, nothing was ever hard those first three years. You slept, you ate, you got sick, you got better. You cried, you were serious, you laughed, you danced, you fell in love with puppy kisses. You were the daughter I was always afraid of, but exactly what I never knew I always needed.

When I first met you, well, it was love at first sight. They put your little head up to me and we gave each other our first "little guy" kiss, something we do to this very day. You looked at me differently, like I was your world...your moon...your stars. I just could not believe the way my heart felt. But today I realize that my heart was feeling what your heart feels. Because your heart is something that dreams are made of. You have such a loving and caring and affectionate soul. Your heart is always on he outside of your body...always. You feel very deeply, you love so naturally. You are a good friend, sibling, son, student. All there is to know is that you will be loved in this world and the world needs to change to accept your love. You do not need to change to meet the world, your love will be the change this world needs.

When I first met you, I was a mom in the thick of it and so lonely. I was in the middle of my marriage fog and desperate for family. I asked for you, and you showed up. My heart was insatntly connected to yours and your family. My soul was full. You were exatly what I needed at exactly the time I needed you. We raised our babies together. We struggled together. You walked me through years of heartache and change. You helped me to see my husband's side of the story. We watched our boys go from parellel play to actual best buds. We saw how complete opposites they were, we laughed at all of the ways they need each other, but drive each other nutty. I fell for you, you taught me so much. You made me a better mom and person and you helped me see balance so differently.

When I first met you, all I saw was a picture and turned to dad and said, this is her, this is our girl. We have to go and get her. There was a lot of back and forth but the day came that we finally got to take you home. You were a bundle of floopy skin and so shaken. Strangers opened up a car door and I turned to our littles and said, she's here, this is our new girl. You instantly warmed to us and we started on our lover of love adventures. A puppy that wants love, and smooches, and caring for more than food or potty breaks. A puppy that is my running and walking buddy, but also my snuggles and fireplace lover. A puppy that loves a nap and a tasty snack but hates the rain or being wet and dirty. A puppy that loves to run looks so natural doing so, a puppy that lives for us, shakes her cooley at us with excitment for just being home. The ray of light we all needed at exactly the right time we needed it. Our perfect, precious ray of light and love. A reminder that time heals and love moves on.

The beginning of a love story is so precious, so wonderful, so caring. It feels so right, exactly what you needed when you needed it. No matter how the story ends, what new chapter you write, just hold on to the feeling of love that you were a part of. Thank the universe for bringing it to you, making you feel that way, that special, that needed right back. Thank them for their part in it. Because love stories come and go. But knowing all of our hearts, we never let the love die.

11
Oct

5 years later

I didn't realize how bad you were that day/that weekend. I didn't realize until the full day lingered and you hadn't moved. And then when dad came home, you were still just laying there. You had peed but hadn't moved. That's when I knew. You couldn't stand, you wouldn't eat, I knew.

We set the appointment and dad wouldn't come to grips with it, but I knew. It was a Friday late afternoon of a long weekend and they were closed that Monday. They said we could bring you back after the weekend if we wanted more time, but ultimately, this was the decision. He begged to take you home, but I looked at you and I couldn't let you suffer for three more days, it was time.

I put on my protective coat. The one I feel slipping over my skin when hard decisions are needed. It's the coat that separates me from my body and my feelings. It actually makes me feel colder, but it also allows me to make really hard decisions I can't make. I felt it slip over my body and I knew. You had lived your purpose sweet love, I knew it was time.

We had our closest friends coming into town that weekend. I think you knew how much I needed that. I remember how much it hurt to breathe, how loud the quiet was. How empty a full house felt.

For the next several months, you could find us falling apart here and there. It would hit us both differently and at different times. It was early March and he was cleaning the backyard and realized it was the last Mia cleanup he would ever do and he cried. It was November and I went to a yoga class that asked me to bring you wanted to love and something you wanted to release and I brought your paw print and cried. It was a warm spring day when we placed your ashes under a tree and the kids lost it. It was December when my brother-in-law made me a book of my goodnight note and I read it over and over and over again. It was April that we brought home our new puppy. The one that made us smile, laugh, snuggle in, our lover of love. Our little bundle. Our little little girl. We called her Mia here and there and would cry. We tried nicknames that we gave you and cried. We were ready but still missing you so hard we were losing it all over again.

It's been five years now. Four of them we spent with Pearl. We still spend so much time talking about you but we are better. I see pictures of you and I don't cry. I can talk about you without pain. I don't reach for you in bed anymore. I don't shuffle my feet when I get out to avoid stepping on you. I don't hear you. So, I guess that's all better.

It's been five years without you. You lived the longest life, inching out every single year, knowing how much we all needed you. How much I still needed to be raised by you. You were my reason. Time protects us from moving farther away from the pain and heals. Time keeps life moving forward. Time is what we needed.

It's been five years without you peanut.

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